The implications of CFTR structural studies for cystic fibrosis drug development

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Development of Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane conductance Regulator (CFTR) modulators, targeting the root cause of cystic fibrosis (CF), represents a challenge in the era of personalized medicine, as CFTR mutations lead to a variety of phenotypes, which likely require different, specific treatments. CF drug development is also complicated by the need to preserve the right balance between stability and flexibility, required for optimal function of the CFTR protein. In this review, we highlight how structural data can be exploited in this context to understand the molecular mechanisms of disease-associated mutations, to characterize the mechanisms of action of known modulators and to rationalize the search for novel, specific compounds.

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